Temple Baptist Church - 4-7-2013
Hebrews 11:11-12; Genesis 18:10-15
A. Now, for the first time, we find the mention of a woman in the Hall of Faith. Her inclusion is not something out of the norm because she is a woman. It is different because of her initial lack of faith.
1. In Genesis 18, we find the story of the angels on their way to Sodom stopping to talk with Abraham. God had promised a much younger Abraham a child by a much younger Sarah. Now, the years have passed with no child and it had ceased to be with Sarah after the “manner of women” and the loins of Abraham were now dead.
2. The bible records that both Abraham and Sarah laughed when told of the coming of a child. Sarah was rebuked for her laughter because it was the laughter of unbelief. Abraham was not rebuked and the New Testament gives the reason why.
3. Romans 4:18-20 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. (19) And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: (20) He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
4. Abraham’s laughter was the laughter of joy because of the promise of a child coming through his barren wife. According to Romans 4:18-29, his faith was unwavering in the face of the impossible.
B. This is not an attack upon the spirituality of women.
1. Some of the greatest people of faith are women; some of the most faithful in the churches are women; some of the best workers in the local church are women; and some of the greatest prayer warriors are women. Women are not “second class Christians” when it comes to either position or faith.
2. Ladies, God made you special! God made the weaker vessel strong; God blesses the faithfulness and labor of women. We find their mention throughout the bible. Some of the most faithful disciples that the Lord had were the women who remained with Him, even at the foot of the cross when most of the men fled.
C. Somewhere between the laughter and the birth of Isaac, Sarah’s faith changed.
1. The faithfulness of God to Abraham brought forth conception though Sarah doubted. God blessed in spite of Sarah’s unbelief.
2. The result of God’s faithfulness was conception and Sarah saw that what God had promised, He was fully able to perform—even when it became a physical impossibility. God helped Sarah to restore her faith in Him who is able to do the impossible.
3. The faith of Sarah, who willingly left the Ur of the Chaldees with her husband, was gloriously restored to the point that she is not recorded for unbelief in Hebrews 11 but for her faith.
D When faith fails, it can be restored! Failure in faith is not the will of God but neither is it the end of the world. We can still get back on track after failure.
E. These verses are of great help to the majority of us because we, for the most part, are not Abrahams. Too often, we are like Sarah! So often, our faith does fail as circumstances overwhelm us and physical sight says, “No way.” It is easy to believe God when the situation only seems improbable but, when it becomes humanly impossible, preaching on faith is so much easier than living it!
F. Here are some biblical illustrations that show the circumstances where faith often fails.
1. Our faith sometimes falters when we get our eyes off the Lord. Matthew 14:28-31 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. (29) And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. (30) But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. (31) And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
2. Our faith sometimes falters when unfaithfulness grows in our lives. John 20:27-29 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. (28) And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (29) Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
3. Our faith sometimes falters when self-confidence arises. Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: (32) But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
4. Our faith sometimes falters when the storms of life are raging. Matthew 8:24-27 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. (25) And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. (26) And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. (27) But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
5. Our faith sometimes falters when finances get tight. Matthew 6:28-34 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: (29) And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (30) Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (31) Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (34) Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
6. Our faith sometimes falters when sickness strikes. Mark 9:23-24 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (24) And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
7. Our faith sometimes falters when death becomes a reality. Luke 7:19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?